Monday, July 27, 2009

Prospective Adoptive Families to Meet Children Aug. 22nd

Prospective adoptive families will have an opportunity to meet approximately 20 children, each with the hope of finding a permanent family, at an adoption gathering on Saturday, August 22, from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., at Macon State College in Macon.

Sponsored by the Georgia Department of Human Services (DHS) Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS), this event will give prospective adoptive parents a unique opportunity to meet the children in a comfortable, fun-filled environment. Families who are unable to attend the gathering in Macon may still interact with this same group of children via video on Saturday, August 22, from 10 a.m. to noon. Videoconference sites will be set up at Armstrong Atlantic State University in Savannah, Esquire Solutions in Atlanta and Augusta and Valdosta State University.

“This is the time of year when kids are getting geared up to go back to school, make some new friends and see some old ones. But, for children who need a permanent family it just marks more time without a family of their own as having passed,” said Mark Washington, assistant commissioner of DHS. “We want these kids to start the next school year knowing they have a permanent family to come home to everyday.”

There are approximately 2,200 children in Georgia who need adoptive families. They are typically 8 years old and older, African American and/or a member of a sibling group being placed together.

Families interested in adopting older children or learning more about the program are encouraged to attend either the event in Macon or one of the videoconference sites. To avoid confusion, only children in need of adoptive families should attend the adoption gathering. Families who plan to attend one of the videoconference sites are more than welcome to bring their children.

For more information, call toll-free 877- 242-5774 or visit the DHS website at
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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

U.S. Virgin Islands’ Economy Tops $19 Billion in Sales in 2007

The 2,583 businesses in the U.S. Virgin Islands’ economy generated $19.5 billion in sales and employed 35,300 people, with $1.1 billion in annual payroll, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2007 Economic Census of Island Areas: Geographic Area Series for the U.S. Virgin Islands. Retail trade sales increased 15 percent to $1.4 billion between 2002 and 2007.

The U.S. Virgin Islands is a U.S. territory in the Caribbean. The economic census ― conducted every five years ― profiles the territory as a whole, and the three islands (St. Croix, St. John and St. Thomas) and towns individually for businesses with paid employees. The 2007 Economic Census included the petroleum refinery industry, which was excluded in the 2002 Economic Census.

Other findings:

-- Retail trade employment over the same period increased 2 percent to 6,773 in 2007. Payroll increased 14 percent to $146.1 million in 2007.

-- In 2007, the largest share of retail sales was found in clothing and clothing accessories stores (30 percent of total retail sales), and in food and beverage stores (18 percent of total retail sales).
-- Clothing and clothing accessories store sales increased 3 percent, from $403.5 million in 2002 to $414.0 million in 2007.

-- Food and beverage store sales increased 14 percent, from $217.3 million in 2002 to $246.8 million in 2007.

-- Businesses in St. Croix reported $16.1 billion in total sales — 83 percent of U.S. Virgin Islands total sales in 2007 — while St. Thomas reported $3.1 billion in total sales.

-- The U.S. Virgin Islands had 109 businesses with 50 or more employees, representing 4 percent of all businesses. These businesses accounted for 84 percent ($16.3 billion) of total sales.
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Friday, July 17, 2009

Georgia Department of Community Health Reminds Georgia Parents, Never Leave a Child Unsupervised in a Car

As temperatures increase and family schedules change, parents and caregivers should avoid leaving children unsupervised in or near vehicles.

“Even with the windows partly open temperatures in a vehicle can spike to 160 degrees Fahrenheit within a matter of minutes on a hot and humid day, and a young child can suffer from heat stroke,” said Dr. Patrick O’Neal, director of the Division of Emergency Preparedness and Response with the Georgia Department of Community Health (DCH). “Most of these cases are preventable.”

Children in vehicles under extreme heat conditions are vulnerable. Heat stroke, a life-threatening emergency, can occur in temperatures as low as 80 degrees Fahrenheit, depending on humidity levels. Body temperatures higher than 105 degrees Fahrenheit can cause permanent brain damage or even death, especially among children.

Other serious injuries occur when children get entrapped in trunks or when they set a vehicle in motion leading to crashes. DCH is working alongside Safe Kids coalitions across the state to increase awareness about child safety.

“Injuries and deaths can be prevented through awareness, supervision and adult intervention such as locking doors and teaching children that vehicles are not playgrounds,” said Lisa Dawson, director of the Injury Prevention program.

Parents and caregivers can assess and revisit these recommendations:

- Make your car safer. Always keep car doors and trunks locked, even in the garage or driveway, to keep kids out. Treat it as the multi-ton, fast-moving enclosure and piece of machinery that it is. Keep the rear fold-down seats closed to prevent kids from getting into the trunk from inside the car

- Supervision is key. Even if the windows are down, never leave your child unattended in a car. Never leave your car keys where children can get them. Teach children not to play in or around cars. If a child is missing at home, check the car first, including the trunk

- Adopt safety-focused behaviors. Consider placing your purse or briefcase in the back seat as a reminder that you have your child in the car. Be sure everyone leaves the vehicle when you reach your destination

- Notification plan. Consider having your child’s teacher or childcare provider call you if your child does not arrive when expected

- Get involved if you see a child alone in a vehicle. If they are hot or seem sick, get them out as quickly as possible and call 911 or your local emergency number immediately

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Thursday, July 9, 2009

50,000 Letter's Strong: CFIF Activists Urge EPA Not to Open Liability "Floodgates" on Small Business

We received this on June 22nd, so we're a bit late in posting. We've been revamping our sites and lost track of the news for a while...

Last Friday, the Center for Individual Freedom ("CFIF") submitted a public comment to the Environmental Protection Agency ("EPA") urging it to reconsider its proposal to regulate greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act, and requesting that the agency extend the period for public comment on the issue.

CFIF's comment reinforces the voices of its activists, who, over the past two weeks, have sent more than 50,000 letters to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, President Obama and Congress objecting to the proposed regulation. A version of the letter they sent, along with the names of each person who sent letters, was attached to CFIF’s official comment.

If enacted, the proposed ruling by the EPA would classify greenhouse gas emissions as an endangerment to public health and welfare. Using such a precedent-shattering finding, Administrator Jackson could regulate emissions of carbon dioxide and other so called "greenhouse gasses" using the same strict standards EPA currently applies to lead, mercury and other poisonous substances.

"If unelected bureaucrats at the EPA get their way, every sector of the U.S. economy could be blamed for a wide range of health problems," said Timothy Lee, CFIF's Director of Legal and Public Affairs. "The new regulation would open a floodgate of unfair and costly litigation aimed at small businesses, farmers, public utilities, and nearly every other sector of our economy. Opportunistic plaintiffs' lawyers would come out of the woodwork and pounce on the opportunity to pad their already deep pockets."

With only a few days left before the scheduled close of public comments on EPA's proposed ruling, CFIF is also urging Administrator Jackson to allow the American people to be heard on this important issue. Specifically, it is requesting that the comment period be extended to 120 days - the typical time allotted for public comment on EPA's work – rather than the shortened period of 60 days the Agency is allowing for this issue.

"Extending the public comment period an additional 60 days will ensure that the concerns of tens of thousands of average citizens from across the country are given the careful consideration they deserve," said Lee.

"Our leaders in Washington need to understand that EPA's public health ruling will only further the economic hardship small businesses and hard working American's are currently facing," Lee concluded.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Welfare Watch - July 07, 2009 - Budget Shortfalls Threaten Services

While Georgia is faring better in this economic crisis than most other states, we still face significant budgetary issues as we move forward into FY10 and FY11. The Governor has called for more cuts last month of more than $274 million for the 2009 fiscal year or 25% for the month of June in order to complete fiscal year without a deficit. He did not want to pull money from the reserve fund in order to balance the budget. This still may be a possibility because the shortfall in FY2009 may be greater than projected.

We enter a new fiscal year with not much hope for an improving picture for the economy or the State's budget. According to an estimate by Georgia State University, the 2010 budget shortfall may be as great as $800 million. If reserve funds from the State are not used, revenue estimates may be needed to be lowered by $1 billion. This picture gets even bleaker in FY2011. According to a report by the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute, as Georgia enters FY2011(which begins June 30, 2010), it may have to use the State Fiscal Stabilization Funds that have been set aside for FY 2011 to help close the FY 2010 deficit. If this happens, we could face a deficit of more than $1.5 billion.

The GBPI warns that to avoid crippling cuts over the next two years to state services, which include education, healthcare, public safety and social services (85% of the State's budget), the Legislature and Governor will need to take a hard look at not only expenses but revenue. Georgia is 49th in per capita spending by state governments and according to a recent study, the 8th best managed state in the county. Georgia is neither wasteful nor excessive in its spending. We have a revenue problem. Georgia just does not have enough money to cover the legitimate expenses of state government.

These are hard decisions that the Legislature and Governor will have to take up in the next session. They have been here before, made some very good decisions about enhanced revenue sources, tax cuts and elimination of tax breaks and incentives that mitigated some of the pain that all Georgians are experiencing today.

Welfare Watch, an email newsletter of the Georgia Association of Homes and Services for Childrenas a public service.

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